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Once ubiquitous hatchbacks are about to make a comeback if they are as handsome and affordable as the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze LT model that recently cycled through our offices here at Kelley Blue Book. Rendered in eye-catching Red Hot paint, this stylish 5-door compact boasts sharply defined character lines, a friendly face that doesn’t go overboard with a gaping maw of a grille and finishes off with a bit of flair thanks to the hatch-mounted rear spoiler.

While the exterior is a thoroughly modern execution, the way our LT trim level Cruze was equipped seemed a bit of a throwback based on its cloth interior and 6-speed manual transmission. But that too is part of the charm of this hatchback. It proved not only highly functional with easy entry to both front and rear seats plus great access to the cargo area through the large liftgate, but also fun to drive in its own unpretentious way. 

Quiet, comfortable, competent

Power for the Cruze hatch comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and while the 153 horsepower it produces doesn’t sound like much, the slick-shifting 6-speed manual with light clutch take-up allows you to wring it all out. The feedback provided by the car’s firm suspension and responsive steering makes the Cruze fun to toss about, while the ride is compliant enough to ensure it remains a well suited to daily driver duties. 

At the LT trim level, which starts at $22,115, this engaging hatchback comes fairly well equipped with features like cruise control, power windows and a rear vision camera. Our test car also was equipped with an $850 Convenience Package that included keyless entry and start, an 8-way power front driver’s bucket and heated front seats, which is nice considering that most heated seats are either of the leatherette or full-on (and costly) leather variety. The priciest option on our test vehicle was the 17-inch alloy wheels, which were handsome but added $2,095 to the bottom line. All in with $875 delivery, this 2017 Chevy Cruze LT Hatch stickered at $25,060, although current cash back of $500 pushes that number back under $25k.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2017

Not only is this new Cruze affordable, it won’t nick you much operating costs. The turbo four is rated at 28 mpg city/39 highway with a combined average of 32 mpg. Simply put, the Cruze LT Hatchback offers value in a package that’s quiet, comfortable and competent.

See our expert review on the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze.


 

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